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How to Arrange an LGBTQ Adoption

LGBTQ adoptions are possible - but they do require a lot of work and waiting. Here's how to do it, straight from a birth mom.

By Ossiana TepfenhartPublished 7 years ago 6 min read
Top Story - July 2017

Right now, there is probably at least one person out there hoping that you'll adopt a child. It could be a stressed out woman who isn't able to support a child, or it could be the child himself.

I ought to know; I have an open adoption arrangement with my daughter and her two fathers. If you want to open up your family and your heart to a child in need, then I commend you. It's a very noble act, and by choosing to do so, you're positively changing peoples' lives for the better.

That being said, there are a lot of people out there who don't believe that LGBTQIA couples are allowed to adopt. Speaking as someone who is a birthparent and who has chosen a gay couple to father a beautiful young girl, I can tell you that's not true.

Though it's possible to have an LGBTQ adoption, it does take a lot more work and it has more red tape involved than a standard heterosexual adoption. Here's what you need to know about the process.

The first thing that you need to understand is that being legally married to your partner is a big deal in adoption.

While it is possible to adopt as a single parent, I can tell you as a birthmom that many birthparents will be concerned about how a single parent household will affect their child. If you haven't already, get married to your partner - it can attract more birthparents to you.

If you can't legally marry in your state, your best bet is to move to a state where you can, or to get a civil union. If your state isn't pro-marriage rights for LGBTQ people, there's a good chance that the state will also make it hard to adopt a child as a gay couple.

Next, you will need to understand what kind of adoption you want to arrange.

Open adoption means that you will have to keep contact with the birthparents via a legal contract. In most states, this isn't enforceable. However, in states like New York, it is. This is often the most beneficial to the child - as well as the birthparents.

Closed adoption means that the child will have no contact with the birthparents. This often isn't advisable because it can cause major problems later on as the child finds out about their adoption.

International adoption means that you'll adopt a child from another country. This was very popular in the past, but due to political problems, it's waning in popularity.

Fostering means that you will be taking care of a child that was put into protective custody by the local Child Protective Services groups. In some cases, you can legally adopt a foster child - but, in most cases, the birth parents have priority in custody. Fostering is often cheaper, can come with government stipends, but also can come with other issues, as well. Even so, it's a good way to adopt an older child for some.

Private adoption means that you will enlist the help of an adoption agency that matches you with a birthmother and facilitates everything.

If you choose to foster a child, get into contact with your local CPS chapter.

The government has an entire website devoted to parents who want to foster a child - and yes, LGBTQ adoptions are legal in all 50 states if they are done straight from the state.

Every state has different requirements in order to foster children, so make sure that you have what it takes to meet their requirements. If you meet all the requirements, then you can very likely do a direct adoption through the state.

It's worth noting that most kids who are in state custody are older - and they need parents too. Don't turn them away just because they aren't babies. Give them a shot, and you might love the kids you meet.

If you choose to do private adoption, you will need to find an adoption agency that works with LGBTQ couples.

This is also a very good time to learn about adoption laws in your state. It's worth noting that LGBTQ adoption is now legal in all 50 states, but that certain states do allow individual adoption agencies to block gay couples from adopting.

Not all adoption agencies allow gay couples - so find one that does!

As much as it pains me to say so, there are a lot of adoption agencies that don't allow gay couples to be clients. You will need to do your research on agencies to find out which will accept you - and which will work well on your behalf.

There are a number of LGBTQ-friendly adoption centers out there, including Lifelong Adoptions, Adoptions Together, AdoptHelp, as well as a number of other private law firms.

Not all adoption agencies are the same.

You need to choose the one that you feel will actually work for you and help you match with someone.

A big warning sign that it may not be a good agency is if they are overbooked on adoptive parents, with a dearth of birthmothers. One of the biggest LGBTQ-friendly adoption agencies in the country, Independent Adoption Center, recently went bankrupt because they had too few birthmothers and too many adoptive couples.

Then, prepare to be matched.

In a typical private adoption, birthmoms are typically offered up family profiles and are the ones who reach out to hopeful parents. This can take a while - in fact, it can even take years.

Most of the time, parents who get matched with birthmoms will meet the mother in person. This is the time to put your best foot forward and to be as open and honest as possible with the birthmom.

Typical birthmoms will want to know what kind of parenting you believe in, what kind of treatment the child will get, and how much interaction they'll get with their kid. If you want to have a happy adoption, you'll be honest about your expectations and desires.

Matching doesn't always happen immediately. In fact, there are often many cases in which matches break before the baby is born. It hurts, but it happens - and it's important to understand why it happens, too.

Understand that there is a chance that the birthmom might back out, and that it can happen fairly last-minute.

Yes, having this happen is devastating, but it happens a lot more frequently than you'd think. If a birthmom feels like something isn't right, she will back away because of concern for her child and her. After all, adoption is ultimately the birthmother's choice in private adoption.

When perusing for adoptive parents, I've backed out on one couple due to a strange feeling I got in my gut, and later found out that my initial hunch was right. Had I gone through with the adoption with that pair of parents, I never would have seen my daughter again.

Later on, I found an adoptive couple who had the same family values as I did - and now I see my child regularly and spend holidays with her. My daughter knows her grandparents, and I know her uncles. It's what everyone in our family wanted.

That being said, I do believe that if adoptive parents really want a child, they will be able to find a match eventually. However, it's important to remember that matching is an extremely personal decision for birth parents, and this isn't something you can force.

Your best bet is to approach the parents and work with them to create a family where they, too, can help with the child's upbringing in some way.

Once you find a match, you will have to go to court and sign the papers.

It takes approximately a month after the child is born to finalize a newborn adoption. Once your child is legally adopted, you are a family - and all is well.

For older children, the process can vary depending on the situation. Thankfully, there are a lot of adoption lawyers who can help guide you through the process.

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About the Creator

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of New Jersey. This is her work account. She loves gifts and tips, so if you like something, tip her!

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